Showing posts with label california. Show all posts
Showing posts with label california. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020

June 13, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Spain + California



LCBO Wine Picks: June 13, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The first theme of the upcoming June 13, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on wines from Spain, while the second theme looks at wines from California. As the weather warms, the slew of rosé wines also start appearing in VINTAGES shelves, as you'll find in this Release. All of the wines from this Release will be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at wines from Spain, of which there are nine wines featured and four are included among my top wine picks. Up first is a lovely Rioja red wine that is a blend of 92% Tempranillo and 8% Mazuelo that was aged for 18 months in hybrid barrels made of French and American oak. Also from Rioja is a barrel-fermented white wine made with Viura. Outside of Rioja, there is a nice Albariño from Rías Baixas in northwestern Spain. Lastly, there is a nice Cava sparkling wine that is made with 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada.

LAN Reserva 2012 (90+ pts)Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva Brut Cava (90 pts)

From the theme on California wines, there are ten wines featured, but just one is included among my top wine recommendations. Fortunately, it is a sub-$20 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County that will probably fly off the shelves.

Among my red wine recommendations, we begin in Portugal with a traditional red blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barroca. Meanwhile, the Côtes du Rhône-Villages is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. From Tuscany, the Chianti Classico is made with 100% Sangiovese. Novel grapes that we don't see much of in Ontario include Xinomavro from Greece, Areni from Armenia, and Grignolino from Piedmont.

Crasto 2018 (89 pts)Lornano Le Bandite Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)

Domaine La Décelle Réserve Valréas 2017 (90 pts)

All of my white wine picks from the rest of the Release are single varietal wines. Among them are a pair of Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand, and a Hunter Valley Semillon from Australia. There are also a pair of barrel-fermented whites, including a Chenin Blanc from South Africa, and a Torrontés from Argentina. For sweet wine lovers, look for the off-dry Riesling from Niagara, or take the sweetness up a notch with a Gewurztraminer from Alsace.

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2017 (90 pts)Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2018 (90 pts)

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

Among my dry rosé wine picks, the rosé from Provence is a blend of 53% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 14% Grenache, 9% Mourvèdre, 7% Ugni Blanc, and 2% Rolle, while the Tavel consists of 45% Grenache Noir, plus Clairette, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and other varietals completing the blend.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RÉSERVE VALRÉAS 2017 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#14391) (XD) - $17.00  90 pts  wine review
  • CRASTO 2018 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#81588) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • ACCORNERO BRICCO DEL BOSCO GRIGNOLINO DEL MONFERRATO CASALESE 2018 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#426635) (XD) - $19.95
  • KIR YIANNI CUVÉE VILLAGES XINOMAVRO 2017 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#14151) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHATEAU ST. JEAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#38034) (D) - $19.95
  • VOSKENI ARENI DRY RED 2016 - Vayots Dzor, Armenia (#14674) (XD) - $23.95
  • LORNANO LE BANDITE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#230672) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • LAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#42929) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • LE RICHE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#13355) (XD) - $26.95

White Wine:

  • VIÑA REAL FERMENTADO EN BARRICA BLANCO 2018 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#14056) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAWSON'S DRY HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#214460) (XD) - $17.95
  • PAZO DE VILLAREI 2018 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#14054) (XD) - $18.95
  • PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2018 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (M) - $18.95
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE BARREL FERMENTED TORRONTÉS 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#384339) (XD) - $21.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (D) - $27.95  90 pts  wine review
  • BELLINGHAM THE BERNARD SERIES OLD VINE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#12724) (XD) - $29.95  FE  90 pts  wine review
  • TYRRELL'S BELFORD SEMILLON 2017 - Single vineyard, Hunter Valley, South Australia (#14322) (XD) - $46.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L'ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2019 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU D'AQUÉRIA TAVEL 2019 - AC, Rhône, France (#319368) (XD) - $24.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • SEGURA VIUDAS HEREDAD RESERVA BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#558825) (D) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review


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  • Wednesday, May 6, 2020

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (California) - Wine Review

To follow the popular J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay that I opened last week, wine review is a California Cabernet Sauvignon that is the most popular red in the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. Like the Chardonnay, this Cali Cab is widely available in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and is also available online for pick-up or delivery.

After an extensive search in the late 1960's to find an ideal location for his first vineyard, Jerry Lohr, founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, settled in the Central Coast, an area that was just beginning to explore its potential for winegrowing. In the early 1970's, Jerry planted his first vineyard in Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district.

A decade later, Jerry Lohr recognized the potential for growing Bordeaux varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, further south in Paso Robles. In 1986, he began planting Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals in San Luis Obispo County's little-known Paso Robles region. With the hands-on devotion of an artisan farmer, Jerry tended to the vines while diligently working toward the creation and development of an adjacent winery and barrel cellar that opened in 1988.

Today, J. Lohr farms over 2,700 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, a region now recognized as one of the world’s best spots for Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux and Rhône varietals. Nearly all of the red wines in the J. Lohr portfolio come from their sustainably-farmed Paso Robles vineyards. Still family-owned and operated, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is one of the industry’s most respected wine brands.

This red wine gets its name from blocks 2 and 4 of Cabernet Sauvignon that were some of the original sources for this iconic wine 30 years ago and featured views of a stand of seven majestic oak trees, which still thrive today. The grapes for this wine predominantly come from their estate vineyards in Paso Robles, directly opposite their J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center and two newer sites just to the north. The region is known for its rich, well-drained, gravelly, and sometimes chalky limestone soils, as well as its semi-arid climate and dramatic diurnal temperature swings of 50°F degrees between warm days and cool nights. This diurnal fluctuation is key to the region's trademark, intense varietal character. The 2017 vintage is remembered as a restorative vintage as it broke an unprecedented 5-year drought conditions throughout California.

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

J. LOHR SEVEN OAKS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#656561) (D) - $23.95
The medium+ intensity nose offers slightly confected aromas of ripe plum, black cherry, currant, blueberry, sweet oak spice, and savoury earthy tones with touches of leafy herbs and mint. The full-bodied palate is notably sweet with flavours of chocolate, sweet, vanillin oak and ripe black cherry and currant notes. Acids are well-balanced while rounded tannins are soft, fine-grained and a touch drying with each passing sip. Earthy, chocolate, and coffee notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah. Crowd pleasing California Cab. Score: 86 pts


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  • Monday, April 27, 2020

J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2018 (California) - Wine Review

white wine review is this popular California Chardonnay. It is a VINTAGES Essentials product - which means that it is always available in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario. It is also available via online ordering at LCBO.com for delivery or pick-up at your local store.

In the late 1960's, Jerry Lohr embarked on a career change by seeking California grape growing regions for his first vineyard, eventually settling in the Central Coast. Founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Mr. Lohr was one of a handful of early pioneers in the region, and among the first the realize the potential of Monterey and Paso Robles for producing high quality grapes and superb wines. In the early 1970's, he chose Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco (meaning "Dry Creek") district for its cool, windy climate and rocky soils ideally suited for Chardonnay. In 1972 and 1973, he planted his first vineyard - 280 acres in Arroyo Seco, near Greenfield.

Today, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is still family-owned and operated, with Jerry very much still involved with his children and co-owners Steve, Cynthia, and Lawrence. J. Lohr now includes more than 1,400 acres of cool-climate estate vineyards in the Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands regions of Monterey County, 2,700 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, and over 30 acres in Napa Valley.

This Chardonnay is crafted from grapes grown in the Arroyo Seco AVA, in the middle of the Salinas Valley in Monterey County, California. The grapes were grown primarily on Elder loam soils that cover a base of Riverstones - also called Greenfield Potatoes - which were deposited over thousands of years by the Arroyo Seco River. These stones limit soil depth from one to four feet, although roots are found at greater depths. This unique combination of sandy loam and cobblestone soil keeps the vines' vegetative growth and fruit in balance.

The 2018 vintage in Arroyo Seco was characterized by a cool spring with foggy mornings and evenings, and daytime highs in the 80's Fahrenheit (27°C) throughout the summer. Harvest began on October 4th, which was later than recent vintages, and was completed on November 8. This wine was barrel-fermented and aged for 7 to 9 months in new to fifth-fill American, Hungarian, and French oak barrels. The final blend of the 2018 Riverstone Chardonnay is comprised of nine Chardonnay clones, each adding complexity by adding its own flavour, texture, and acidity.

J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2018 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

J. LOHR RIVERSTONE CHARDONNAY 2018 - Arroyo Seco Monterey, California, USA (#258699) (XD) - $19.95
Ripe, medium intensity nose of pineapple, banana, nectarine, and mango with some sweet vanilla and spice aromas. It is medium-full bodied and somewhat warming on the rich, sweet-ish palate with pineapple, banana, ripe apple, sweet vanilla, clove spice, and touches of buttery flavours supported by fresh, juicy acidity. Very good length on the finish with buttery, vanilla, and wood spice notes. Fans of California Chardonnay will like this. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 10, 2020

March 7, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: California + Burgundy

LCBO Wine Picks: March 7, 2020 VINTAGES Release
I just returned from a lovely vacation in New Zealand where I also visited some wineries in Marlborough, Hawke's Bay, Waiheke Island, and Auckland - stay tuned for more about my visit. In the meantime, wines from the March 7, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release arrived on shelves across Ontario last Saturday. This Release features wines from two premium winegrowing regions - California is the main theme, while Burgundy is the mini-theme.

Of the twelve wines featured as part of the theme on California wines, there are a few solid gold offerings that are consistently top-quality wines. However, just one wine made my list of wine picks - a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon (which also includes 2% Petit Verdot & 2% Malbec) from the Red Hills Lake County AVA, just north of Napa Valley, that is planted on red volcanic soils that are shot through with obsidian rock.

The mini-theme seeks to find bargains in Burgundy - with some pretty good success as three of the seven wines featured are included among my wine recommendations. All three of my recommendations are white wines, with one made with Aligoté. The other two wines are both made with Chardonnay - one is a 1er Cru Chablis, while the other is from Montagny.

From my top red wine picks from this Release, the Saint-Roch is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from 60-year-old vines. From Italy, the Riserva Chianti Classico is made with 100% Sangiovese, while the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva is made with a minimum of 70% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) and a maximum of 30% of Canaiolo. From Bordeaux, the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.

San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (91 pts)Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2015 (91 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, there is only one blend - a 68% Sauvignon Blanc and 32% Semillon combination from Australia. For sweet wine lovers, the Kew Riesling from Niagara is off-dry, while the Tawse Riesling further amps up the sweetness levels.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • QUINTA DAS CARVALHAS RED BLEND 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#11150) (XD) - $13.95
  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH / GRENACHE 2017 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#195107) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE TOURNON MATHILDA CHAPOUTIER SHIRAZ 2017 - Victoria, Australia (#327395) (XD) - $18.95
  • TABALÍ VETAS BLANCAS SYRAH 2016 - Viñedo Espinal, DO Limarí Valley, Chile (#213538) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT 2017 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#346742) (XD) - $19.95
  • ROCKCLIFFE THIRD REEF SHIRAZ 2017 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#453209) (XD) - $19.95

  • REVEREND V MOUNT BARKER SYRAH 2017 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#13175) (XD) - $21.95
  • EL ENEMIGO CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#11813) (XD) - $23.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SAN FELICE IL GRIGIO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#716266) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE ORGANIC PINOT NOIR 2017 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#274753) (XD) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (D) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • OBSIDIAN RIDGE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, Red Hills, Lake County, California, USA (#544940) (XD) - $49.95
  • CHÂTEAU SIMARD 2015 - AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#12090) (XD) - $49.95
Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir 2017 (91 pts)El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2015 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • PAUL MAS SINGLE VINEYARD COLLECTION RESERVE VIOGNIER 2018 - Nicole Vineyard, IGP Pays d'Oc, Midi, France (#370098) (XD) - $13.95
  • KEW OLD VINE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#392126) (D) - $15.95
  • CHARLES MONTSERAT BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2018 - AC, Burgundy, France (#12026) (XD) - $16.95
  • ABRAS TORRONTÉS 2017 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#10965) (XD) - $16.95
  • SKUTTLEBUTT SAUVIGNON BLANC / SEMILLON 2018 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#47621) (XD) - $18.95
  • ESK VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12638) (XD) - $21.95
  • TAWSE QUARRY ROAD ORGANIC RIESLING 2018 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#198853) (M) - $24.95
  • LA CHABLISIENNE VAILLONS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#11900) (XD) - $27.95
  • JOSEPH DROUHIN MONTAGNY 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#11903) (XD) - $32.95
  • GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (XD) - $38.95  FE


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  • Thursday, November 7, 2019

November 9, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: California

LCBO Wine Picks: November 9, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The November 9, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features wines from California in this mono-thematic, third to last Release of 2019. On the whole, there are many lovely wines to add to your collection or for gift-giving throughout this Release.

We begin with the main theme that focuses on top California wines, which lists fifteen as part of this theme. While many California wines as part of this theme are high quality wines, I've limited my recommendations to four from this feature. First up is the lone red which is a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stags Leap District in Napa Valley. My top white wines from California includes a barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc (with a splash of Semillon) that is called Fumé Blanc from iconic Robert Mondavi. There's also a lovely Napa Valley Chardonnay and a Chardonnay from Sonoma Mountain.

Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (93 pts)Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay 2017 (93 pts)

Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2017 (92 pts)Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Fumé Blanc 2015 (93 pts)

My red wine picks are littered with blends from Italy and France. From Italy, the Amarone is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, while the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Malvasia Nera, and 5% Canaiolo. Both Super Tuscans - the Luce and Crognolo - are big wines made with Sangiovese and Merlot. From Rhône, France, the outstanding Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and 5% Cinsault, while the Côtes du Rhône-Villages is a blend of 65% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 5% Mourvèdre. Lastly, the Rioja from Spain is a blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Grenache, 5% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo.

Masi Mazzano Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012 (93 pts)San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2016 (90 pts)

Luce 2016 (93 pts)Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2016 (92 pts)

Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017 (93 pts)Gabriel Meffre Laurus Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2016 (89 pts)

R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva 2006 (93 pts)

My white wine recommendations from the rest of the Release are all single varietal wines. Some of the bigger highlights includes various oaked Chardonnays from New Zealand, Sonoma County, and South Africa, as well as a Pinot Grigio that is consistently delicious year after year. For sweet wine lovers, look to either the very sweet Spätlese Riesling from Mosel, or the off-dry Gewurztraminer from Alsace.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2016 (92 pts)Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2017 (90 pts)

Christina The Heritage Collection Chardonnay 2017 (90 pts)Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2018 (89 pts)

Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier Dom Spätlese Riesling 2011 (90 pts)Cave Hunawihr Kuhlmann-Platz Gewurztraminer 2018 (88+ pts)

Among my sparkling wine picks, all are crafted in the traditional method, with the Italian bubbly made of 100% Chardonnay, while the Niagara bubbly is 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and lastly, the Rosé Champagne is a blend of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay. All are dry and aged for a number of years prior to release.

13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling 2013 (91+ pts)Ferrari Brut Sparkling (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine picks from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND FITOU GRENACHE/CARIGNAN 2017 - AP, Midi, France (#403683) (D) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • SIDEWOOD SHIRAZ 2016 - Adelaide Hills, South Australia (#446146) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#079798) (XD) - $19.95
  • GABRIEL MEFFRE LAURUS CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2016 - AP, France (#381053) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA ALTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - DO Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#203364) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • SAN FABIANO CALCINAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#023408) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
Errazuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (90 pts)Sidewood Shiraz 2016 (89 pts)

Gérard Bertrand Fitou Grenache/Carignan 2017 (88 pts)

  • RODNEY STRONG ALEXANDER VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#350454) (XD) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review
  • SOLÉNA GRAND CUVÉE PINOT NOIR 2017 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#486944) (XD) - $33.95  90 pts  wine review
  • TENUTA SETTE PONTI CROGNOLO 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#727636) (D) - $34.95  92 pts  wine review
  • R. LOPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA RESERVA 2006 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#356337) (XD) - $58.95  93 pts  wine review
  • RENATO RATTI MARCENASCO BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#713479) (XD) - $59.95  92 pts  wine review
Renato Ratti Marcenasco Barolo 2015 (92 pts)Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (90 pts)

Soléna Grand Cuvée Pinot Noir 2017 (90 pts)

  • VERSADO RESERVA ANCIENT MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#316984) (XD) - $59.95  93 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $93.95  93 pts  wine review
  • LUCE 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#685263) (XD) - $119.95  93 pts  wine review
  • CLIFF LEDE STAGS LEAP DISTRICT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, USA (#014217) (XD) - $119.95  93 pts  wine review
  • MASI MAZZANO AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#597476) (XD) - $129.95  93 pts  wine review
Versado Reserva Ancient Malbec 2013 (93 pts)

White Wine:

  • KAIKEN TERROIR SERIES TORRONTÉS 2018 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#330407) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PENCARROW SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand (#148429) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CAVE HUNAWIHR KUHLMANN-PLATZ GEWURZTRAMINER 2018 - AP Alsace, France (#012010) (D) - $18.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • CHRISTINA THE HERITAGE COLLECTION CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Robertson, South Africa (#010104) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige-Trentino, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER DOM SPÄTLESE RIESLING 2011 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#011651) (S) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • RODNEY STRONG CHALK HILL CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#275552) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CLOUDY BAY CHARDONNAY 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#359513) (XD) - $38.95  92 pts  wine review
  • ROBERT MONDAVI TO KALON VINEYARD RESERVE FUMÉ BLANC 2015 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#326165) (XD) - $59.95  93 pts  wine review
  • BERINGER PRIVATE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#026682) (D) - $64.95  92 pts  wine review
  • KISTLER SONOMA MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County, California, USA (#183921) (XD) - $114.95  93 pts  wine review
Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontés 2018 (88 pts)Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • FERRARI BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, DOC Trento, Italy (#352153) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • 13TH STREET PREMIER CUVÉE SPARKLING 2013 - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#142679) (XD) - $39.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2013 - AC, Champagne, France (#368415) (XD) - $104.95  FE

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2017 - Estate grown, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95
  • CARMES DE RIEUSSEC 2015 - 1er cru, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#472092) (S) (375 mL) - $25.95  91 pts  wine review
Carmes de Rieussec 2015 (91 pts)


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  • Saturday, October 26, 2019

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise 2017 (California) - Wine Review

Want something for your Halloween party? You might want to look at tonight's red wine review that is sure to please your guests with it's Halloween-themed label. It just arrived at the LCBO and is widely available across Ontario, just in time for Halloween festivities.

It is produced by Chronic Cellars, a California winery that came together in 2004 when brothers Josh and Jake Beckett combined their winemaking skills with their wit and humour to turn an idea into reality using two tons of the best – or 'chronic' – grapes to make killer wine.

The Beckett brothers grew up in a wine family in Paso Robles and helped by washing barrels, punching down fermenting grapes, and working the bottling line. It was only natural that one day they would make their own wine.

Chronic Cellars' philosophy is to use the best, or 'chronic', grapes to make seriously good wine for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. They have partnered with neighbours and friends in Paso Robles to build an network of growers, allowing Josh to select the grapes he wants for all of his custom, intriguing blends, including this Purple Paradise. The labels are created by Joe Kalionzes, a childhood friend and artist whose style and graphic linocuts perfectly capture their double-take vision for the brand.

While the label of this wine and it's well-timed arrival in Ontario evokes images of Halloween, the vision for Purple Paradise actually appeared when they were in their own paradise - Mexico. Purple represents the juice, while Paradise represents how you feel when drinking it. Sit back, relax, and float away to your own paradise.

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise 2017 (85 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHRONIC CELLARS PURPLE PARADISE 2017 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#012011) (D) - $21.95
This blend of 78% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, and 6% Grenache has a fresh, aromatic nose of cherries, spice, strawberry, and a touch brambly, surrounded by vanilla and cocoa notes. The full-bodied palate is confected with sweet spice and vanilla, followed by blueberry, cherry, and strawberry flavours. Acids are fresh and balanced, while tannins are supple with a touch of textural grip. Good length on the finish with sweet vanillin oak and some earthy characters. Crafted for mass appeal. Score: 85 pts


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  • Thursday, April 18, 2019

Copain Wines Tasting (California) 2019

Copain Wines (2019)
I had the pleasure of tasting some of the latest fine wines from California's Copain Wines.

Founded in 1999, Copain, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘buddy’ in French, embodies their philosophy that wine enhances life’s most joyous occasions, and is an experience best shared with friends and family. The winery is perched on a hillside overlooking the Russian River Valley and specializes in making single-vineyard wines from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Grapes are sourced from cool-climate vineyards in Mendocino County, the Anderson Valley and the Sonoma Coast.

The Copain portfolio consists of three distinct collections - Tous Ensemble, Les Voisins, and the single-vineyard wines. The "Tous Ensemble" collection, which translates to "All Together", are crafted in an approachable, ready-to-drink style from a blend of fruit sourced from select vineyards within the AVA, and suitable for gatherings with friends and family. The "Les Voisins" wines are nuanced, terroir-driven wines, while the single-vineyard wines are crafted to be savoured many years after release.

In 2016, Copain Wines joined the Jackson Family Wines portfolio, a family-owned and -operated company that crafts award-winning wines of distinct character and quality, with a focus on sustainable viticulture practices, responsible vineyard and natural resource management. The family's collection includes more than 40 renowned brands from across the globe.

My favourites from this tasting were the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines that were classy, elegant, and fresh. The rosé was also nicely dry.

To purchase any of these fine Copain Wines, please contact the agent Halpern Enterprises.

Wine Scores:

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" CHARDONNAY 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $36.75  90 pts

Copain "Tous Ensemble" Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)Copain "Tous Ensemble" Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" ROSÉ 2017 - Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $29.86  88+ pts

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" PINOT NOIR 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $39.71  90 pts

Copain "Tous Ensemble" Pinot Noir 2016 (90 pts)Copain "Tous Ensemble" Syrah 2016 (89 pts)

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" SYRAH 2016 - Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $41.25  89 pts

COPAIN "LES VOISIN" PINOT NOIR 2015 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $54.48  91+ pts

Copain "Les Voisin" Pinot Noir 2015 (91+ pts)Copain "Les Voisin" Syrah 2015 (90 pts)

COPAIN "LES VOISIN" SYRAH 2015 - Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $54.48  90 pts

COPAIN DUPRATT CHARDONNAY 2016 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (#010873) (XD) - $63.37  91 pts

Copain DuPratt Chardonnay 2016 (91 pts)Copain Hawks Butte Syrah 2013 (91 pts)

COPAIN HAWKS BUTTE SYRAH 2013 - Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $64.33  91 pts


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